“The Moon Era,” Jack Williamson, 1931 – A young man’s uncle persuades him to take photos of and film panoramic on the moon in exchange for a vast inheritance. While on the moon, he discovers The Mother, the sole survivor of a race that has foresworn machines in order to live sternly, to keep their minds sharp. The Eternal Ones were that segment of their race that went the other direction, coming to rely upon machines until they were nothing more than living brains, living machines, “no longer natural”. The Mothers consider technology barbaric.
Comments: Read in Asimov’s Before the Golden Age, Book One. In the introduction, Asimov describes the role of women in the 30’s sf as “just there to be rescued.” He claims that the sf of the 30’s consisted of all “masculine” readers and writers. In this story, the reader is finally moved by a relationship between a man and woman, but the woman (the alien, “The Mother”) isn’t really a woman.
Author: Wikipedia: “John Stewart Williamson (April 29, 1908 – November 10, 2006), who wrote as Jack Williamson (and occasionally under the pseudonyms Will Stewart and Nils O. Sonderlund) was a U.S. writer often referred to as the ‘Dean of Science Fiction’ following the death in 1988 of Robert A. Heinlein.”